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10 Mistakes Happy People Never Make

10 Mistakes Happy People Never Make

Have you noticed that small, nagging voice in your head that does most of the talking? It is like a hotel guest that forgot to check out. I call it the “mini-me”.

In my case, I’d do a superb job with a client, or at writing a book, and the mini-me would still be unsatisfied. It would find reasons why the success won’t last and why it is not much of a big deal.

A while ago, I realized it was high-time I asked the nagger to shut up!

After all, it’s your mind, it’s your life and it’s your happiness that is at stake here. The more you give in to the mini-me, the more you move away from experiencing life to the fullest.

Happy people seem to get that. They practice a few things, whether consciously or unconsciously. They also avoid certain things like the plague, such as:

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1. Focusing only on your mini-me

Happy, positive people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to their mini-me. Your job is to convert your mini-me into your best friend – and until it becomes one, you say, “Thank you, but I am fine,” and ignore the rest of the chatter.

Focus on what your mini-me is not saying. Focus on the achievements and happy moments of your life. You know the saying, “What you focus on is what you get”. It’s time to put the saying to the test.

2. Putting a dollar amount on success

If you define your success with money, you will find that the amount you earn is never enough. There is always more to be earned. Instead, happy people equate their success with satisfaction and happiness in life.

If you are happy making a thousand dollars a month because it satisfies all your needs, then be happy. Don’t stop yourself because someone else told you a thousand dollars is not enough. Tune into yourself and ask whether you need more; if yes, strive for it. But not at the cost of your own happiness!

3. Always living in the future

In his book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle stresses the importance of being present. The present is the only time you have right now. It is the only tangible experience for you. The past is in your memories and the future is yet to come.

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Happy people focus on the small things today that will become big successes tomorrow. Seize the day because today will never happen again.

4. Forgetting the magic word

We are a funny species. We forget what is while we focus on what is not. To remind yourself of the small things that bring happiness in your life, keep a gratitude journal. Say, “Thank you,” to the Universe, Source, God (or whatever you call it). Psychological research suggests we are happy when we are grateful for what we already have.

To ‘prove’ this, try writing down three things that went well during a day. Keep doing this for a week, every night, with a causal explanation of why you are grateful for that experience. Notice how you feel after each exercise. In an experiment in 2005, different groups of participants were asked to do the same. At the one-month follow up meeting, the people who used this exercise were happier and less depressed than they had been at the prior meeting. They continued the exercise and stayed happier in the future follow-ups.

5. Dreaming small

Somehow, we are conditioned to dream small. We are told to be careful of the challenges life throws our way. Successful people don’t limit their dreams – they dare to dream BIG.

That said, they also have a series of smaller, more immediate steps that will bring them to realize this goal. Having a bigger vision is important, but a step-by-step formula makes it more possible.

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6. Keeping goals and dreams a secret

Happy people love the concept of a mastermind where people share their challenges and come up with a list of solutions, or brainstorm ideas, using the group’s synergy.

7. Speaking ill of others

It may be tempting to gossip about others behind their back, but when you talk negatively, you take in the negative energy yourself.

Think about the last time you spoke (or thought) badly of someone behind their back. How did you feel afterwards? Not overly enthusiastic, for sure. Instead, focus on others’ strengths and positive habits and highlight what makes them special.

8. Not living in alignment with your values

Alignment with your values is an emotional state you want to feel on a regular basis. For example, your top values could be love, honesty, integrity and success. Make a list of your top ten values and then on the other side of the paper, write down how you are meeting these values in different areas of your life.

Now, write down all areas where your values are not being met. You have discovered the loopholes. What can you do to change that? (For a full list of values, go here.)

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9. Not accepting what cannot be changed

Happy people are adaptable – they easily adjust themselves to accept what is not possible. If you’re unhappy about something, notice how your ego holds onto it and won’t let go of the fact that you cannot change it.

This brings more pain that has especially to do with trying to control others or external situations. The person you can change the easiest is you. Happy people get that and bring their energy to what can be controlled – that is, they themselves.

10. Holding grudges

The more you focus on how someone hurt you last year by making a mean statement, the more you will hold on to anger, negativity and resentment. All these take a whole lot of your energy for nothing in return.

Perhaps the other person feels miserable, too. Perhaps they are holding a grudge against you. No one is happy that way. To forgive and forget is hard but pays well in the long run. You will be free from the shackles of the negative bond, and you have more room for better experiences in your life.

What other habit would you add to the list of mistakes that happy people never make? Share with us in the comments below!

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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